Well Being

There Is No Cure for Asexuality Because It’s Not a Disease

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stop hitting on me yo

 (Via Shutterstock)

You'd think we, as a society, would have realized that you cannot control your sexuality by now. Whether your internal compass swings gay, straight, somewhere in between, or none of the above, most decent people are aware that desires may fluctuate over time, but they can never be ordered around.

Well, at least most decent people seem to have accepted this fact in the case of the LGBTQ community. When I was in high school a decade ago, gay marriage was still unpopular with a majority of Americans. Now, the prevailing opinion holds that marriage equality in 32 states is a perfectly fine thing, and that equality in all 50 would be better still. Can I get a “'Bout freakin' time!” in here?

But even as same-sex couples thankfully become part of the norm, there are still those of us who fall outside most definitions of traditional desires and tendencies who are ignored at best and derided at worst. I am personally extending a complaint as a representative of the asexual community.

If you've never heard of asexuals and asexuality before, I can forgive you. According to a study discussed by CNN when I was still in high school, we make up a mere one percent of the population. We've never had to publicly fight as a group for the right to marry, since the inability to have children is only dredged up as a seemingly valid argument when the infertile couple is gay.

And while a gay or straight individual's preferences might be broadcast to the world just by virtue of whom they choose to hold hands with on a romantic stroll, ours aren't quite as obvious. It isn't unheard of for someone to take a walk along the beach or grab lunch all by their comfortable lonesome.

And since not all asexuals are aromantic (which is to say, if you're understandably unfamiliar with this even-more-uncommon term, incapable of forming romantic attachments), it is still possible for us to go unnoticed as part of a lovey-dovey twosome who just happens to not engage in sexual intercourse. There can still be cuddling, kissing, and cheesy rom-coms streamed on Netflix while touching affectionately on the couch, it's just that the desire to extend that touching to the naughty bits simply isn't there.

Unfortunately, too many people just can't get past the “no genitals” barrier. “How can you not love sex?” I've had gasped at me. “It's just so…good!” Worse yet, I've been the occasional recipient of a condescending, “I'm sorry you don't like sex. Have you tried…?”

About half the time, I'm able to respond to the legitimately curious and/or legitimately concern-trolling that liking sex is an ingrained preference, just like anything else. The act is boring and uncomfortable for me no matter what position or technique I try, but I get that I am very much in the minority. I don't like chocolate, either, which most of my friends are keen to respond to with a shrug and a cheery, “More for me, then!”

On the flip side, I've met people who don't like bacon. They don't keep kosher or have allergies, they just…don't like it. Since I come from a family that puts the “ish” in Jewish, I have resolved to accept this, even if I don't fully understand. This is a place I can reach with about half the people who are unfamiliar with asexuality.

Then there's the other half. As I am a reasonably healthy, decent-looking woman in my twenties, you can likely guess which half of the population I am referring to here.

Now, clearly I am not fishing for cries of “Not all men!” here. I know that there are men out there who are asexual or have very low libidos who know what I'm going through and even, due to society's conflation of horndoggedness with masculinity, have it worse. I am simply saying that, for me personally, the people with whom I have felt compelled to address the topic of my nonsexuality have generally been straight males who have generally been interested in boning me.

To these guys, it doesn't matter that I dumped my boyfriend two years ago and have only been on one date since, though not for lack of interest directed at me. It matters even less that the date was the result of me wondering, after a year of contented singledom, whether my ex had really screwed me up that badly or if I simply had no reciprocal interest anymore, and that the date helped me clarify that it was most definitely the latter. All that matters to them is that not liking sex must mean I Haven't Had the Right Kind Yet, and they would be quite happy to help me rectify that situation.

To those guys (and gals—let's be equal opportunity here, even if I haven't been on the receiving end of this myself), I say: it's not you, it's me. Although your persistence is the opposite of endearing, so you're really not helping matters. Also that classic break-up line makes it sound like it's somehow my fault, which, if you've been reading and nodding along this far, you may have slowly come to accept that it's not.

Though this applies as a general rule to all who are dismissive of asexuality as an actual orientation, I mostly offer this advice to the guys who just won't take “no” in any form. Your magical wonderpeen will not serve as conversion therapy for my asexuality. If I like you enough, I may be willing to have physical contact with you, maybe even occasional sex, as long as you are fully well aware that I will get no pleasure from it and would only be doing so if it were something you couldn't live without.

But my fellow asexuals and I don't care how good you are at giving head. We're still going to be asexual regardless. No matter what, our orientation compass will always swing around and around before finally settling on, “No, thanks.”